Scared to Write Your Book? Let Your Fears Be Your Guides to Success

Afraid of writing your book because…? Go ahead and jot down a list of your worst fears. Scared of dying? Scared of failing? Scared of finding out you can’t write your way out of a paper bag? (Who needs to do that, anyway?) Scared of hurting others with your words? Scared of contaminating the world with darkness? Scared you’ll find out you’re a monster? Scared you’re just too scared to do anything? Fears. We all have them. You can’t put them in a bottle and cork it. You can’t reason with them. But you can shift your relationship to your …

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Deep Problems, Big Story

When it comes to creating a great protagonist, the character with the biggest, deepest problem wins. In my last blog entry–Does Your Story’s “Equation” Add Up?– I touched on the terms “story catalyst” and “deep-story problem”. I want to discuss them both in a bit more depth because they are crucial to the creation of a marketable story. A truly effective story catalyst (also referred to as inciting incident) kicks off the narrative, hooks the reader, and sets the protagonist on a journey (dealing with the deep-story problem) that will end in a life-changing crisis and climax. Because they are …

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Quote of the Day on Point of View

Today’s quote from Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass: “Point of view is more than just a set of eyes looking upon the world. Those eyes come with a mouth and a brain. Those must come into play, too, or your novel will have the chilliness of a movie camera. There may be times when objective point of view is useful, but by and large it is best to use the singular advantage that the novel has over other art forms: the ability to bring us deeply inside a character’s experience.”

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Dreaming Awake

“Creative writers make believe. They train themselves sharply to observe the world around them, to notice the unnoticed. They reach back into their past lives for rich characters, vivid settings, and meaningful events. But at some point, the search for raw material veers toward another source–it turns inward to what isn’t, wasn’t, and could never be, yet somehow seems right, real, and true.” From: THE CREATIVE PROCESS by Carol Burke and Molly Best Tinsley

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CHARACTERS’ ADVOCATE

I came across this quote from actor Holly Hunter: “I always feel that I am the advocate for my character. More than anyone else on the set, including the director. I’m there to protect my character, in any way.” As writers, we might consider it our job to find an inner advocate for every character on our pages, even–especially–the least sympathetic. Remember the fiction writers’ “P” word: parity.

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